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Devices Integrate Control Of Multiple Home Systems

9/16/2002 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Companies such as Crestron, Elan, Sonance and Vantage will arrive here at the CEDIA Expo with new products that give consumers control of multiple home systems from a single in-wall keypad or touch screen.

New Crestron touch screens are intended for use with the company's systems-integration network. Vantage will unveil new options for its lighting and home-control systems. And Elan and Sonance plan to show new keypads intended to control distributed-A/V systems and other IR-based systems, mainly lighting.

Here's what installers will find:

Crestron: A trio of home-system control pads includes a wireless-RF touchpanel with active-matrix color display, the company's smallest wired tabletop Isys touch panel, and the company's smallest touch screen, a handheld model based on Philips' Pronto RF-wireless remote.

The Pronto-based remote, the $1,990-suggested MiniTouch, ships in September with included battery-charging station. It delivers 1,500-feet one-way RF range and can be used with Crestron's RF gateway and 2-series control system. A 3-inch color touch screen is complemented by eight programmable hard buttons.

The ST-1700 brings an active-matrix color display to a Crestron wireless touch panel for the first time. It's also touted as the industry's first active-matrix RF touch panel. It displays 64,000 colors, compared to a conventional model's 256 colors, and retails for a suggested $2,600. A two-way RF model retails for a suggested $4,000. Both ship in September.

The TPS-3000, due in the third quarter at a suggested $3,800, is the newest and smallest member of the Isys tabletop touch panel line. Its 6.4-inch active-matrix display in a tilt up/down base is suitable for desktop or bedroom placement. It also displays real-time composite or S-video and incorporates stereo speakers, volume control and WAV playback.

Elan: Two new in-wall keypads, the $350-suggested Z200 and $450 Z250, are learning keypads in standard wall-plate sizes. The size allows for large, easy-to-read keycaps. They can be programmed to control just about any IR-based system via a single run of CAT-5 cable. Codes are programmed into nonvolatile flash memory, preserving data during power outages and enabling installers to do the programming back at the shop.

The two-way keypads provide LED confirmation of source and system status, including source selection, zone on/off, system on/off and mute.

The Z-200 is a single-gang 12-source, 18-button model. The double-gang 35-button Z-250 adds numeric keypad for direct-track and -channel access and control of local-TV source select. Both ship in October.

Also new is a two-way version of the SC-4 system controller, which enables VIA! in-wall touch panels to control RS-232-based security, HVAC and lighting systems, not just IR-based distributed-A/V systems. With two-way communication, the touchpanels will indicate whether a security system is armed or disarmed or whether someone left the front door open. It will also display the temperatures in different rooms. It ships in September at a suggested $1,200.

Sonance: The company's first touchscreen-equipped keypad controller is the Navigator K2 with black-and-white screen. It controls distributed-audio and other IR-based home systems. The K2 will ship in November at a suggested $550 for use with the IR-based Navigator Harbor multizone, multisource A/V controller. It's only 1.83-inches-deep, suitable for European homes.

Vantage Controls: The company's RadioLink 900MHz wireless control network, launched last year for the retrofit market, will get a new option.

Last year's RadioLink launch included an RF-equipped ScenePoint Dimmer station, a one-to four-gang keypad that fits in existing light-switch boxes and doubles as a light switch/dimmer that handles up to 1,200 watts. The dimmer station sends wireless commands up to 100 feet to RF receivers built into an RF-equipped version of the Vantage C-Box master controller, which coordinates the activities of Vantage lighting and other home systems. The dimmer station can also talk to the RadioLink Enabler, a transceiver that can be added to already installed C-Boxes, which uses a two-wire communications bus to talk to wired dimmer stations.

This year, the company is adding a RadioLink RS-232 Station, a wireless transceiver that connects to audio/video equipment and other controllable components to eliminate a run of serial cable from the components to a Vantage Controller.

For the traditional wired Vantage system, the company is adding the LCD 320M Control Station, a 3.75-inch monochrome LCD touch screen that controls anything connected to the Vantage system.

The following are also new:

  • The Vantage WebPoint software program makes it possible for any Web-enabled device, including PDAs and Web pads, to control a Vantage system from inside the house or from a remote location such as the office. The program loads onto a home PC, which connects to the Vantage system by RS-232.

  • The TheaterPoint one-box solution integrates a home theater system into a Vantage home-control network.

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